Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François

This Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake was a happy mistake. You know how they say you learn from your failures? Well, I was going for a tourteau fromage and it went wrong in a big way.

I wanted to make the classic French cheesecake that is baked in a rounded pan, is lightened with whipped egg whites and has a top crust that is burnt, black as night, and is domed. Mine came out a lovely caramel color and sank like a bowl. So, instead of feeling defeated, I used it as a bowl. I was going to just make a traditional strawberry New York cheesecake topping, but it’s almost spring and the rhubarb is popping up all over instagram, so I added a rhubarb fool as well. What started out as a mistake turned into a family favorite. There was lots of joy and praise leveled at this delicious weeble of a dessert. 

The tourteau fromage I was trying for is made with a young goat cheese, but my family preferred the version I made with a combination of cream cheese and mascarpone. I figured since I’d failed at the traditional one, it wouldn’t matter if I really took it off the rails and just developed my very own thing. It has a subtle flavor that is the perfect vessel for the tart fool and sweet strawberries.

The rhubarb fool is nothing more than roasted rhubarb folded into barely sweetened whipped cream. This simple preparation of the fruit (we all know rhubarb is a vegetable that passes as a fruit) is very British and there are many ways to make a fool, but this is the simplest and most fool proof. Oh, come on, you knew that pun was coming. The strawberry sauce is just the berries, a bit of sugar and a touch of starch to hold the juices together. 

I decorated it to look like a jester’s hat, because the whole fool theme. Actually, I realized what I had done after I took the photo, it was just a happy accident. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François

You can watch me make this Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake in my instagram video and the recipe is below.

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake

Cheesecake adapted from the tourteau fromage recipe in Larousse Gastronomiquepastry crust

250g all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

125g unsalted butter, room temperature 

4+ tablespoons water 

Cheesecake batter

250g fresh goat cheese (or 225g cream cheese + 25g mascarpone) – the goat cheese version is traditional and wonderful, but quite strong in flavor. You could always do a smaller portion of goat cheese and make up the rest with cream cheese. Since I am no longer going for the authentic recipe, you have permission to change the cheese as you see fit. 

150g, plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

5 eggs, separated

30g potato starch (you can also use corn or tapioca)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 vanilla bean split and scraped

Strawberry topping

680g (1 1/2 pounds) fresh or frozen strawberries

100g, plus 1 tabelspoon sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Rhubarb Fool

454g (1 pound) fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1″ long pieces

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (make your own)

Freeze-dried strawberries for dusting over the top

Fresh strawberries for top

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François

To make the cheesecake crust:

See my instagram video to watch me make the crust.

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and butter, until it resembles coarse corn meal. Add enough water until it just holds together when squeezed together. Work the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 equal pieces (depends on the size of your bowls) and form them into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Can be made 2 days ahead.

Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly butter three (1/2-Quart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl).

Allow chilled dough to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling or it may crack. Use a small amount of flour to roll the dough to 1/16-inch-thick circle. Gently press into a lightly buttered metal bowl. Dock the dough with a fork and bake until dough looks dry and golden.

To make the cheesecake batter:

Watch me make the batter in my instagram video.

Turn the oven up to 400°F

In a large bowl mix the cheese, 150g sugar and salt with a spoon or whisk. Add the yolks one at a time, blending well between each. Whip the egg whites with the tablespoon sugar until medium peaks (don’t over whip or they will not fold into the cheese smoothly). Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture. 

Divide the batter into the baked crust filled bowls. Bake on a baking sheet for about 50-60 minutes. The outer crust will be quite dark and domed, but will collapse as it finishes its baking. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out of the bowl and continue to cool completely.

To make the strawberry sauce: 

In a large saucepan cook the strawberries, sugar and salt until the fruit is soft. Blend together the remaining sugar and cornstarch, then stir it gently into the strawberries. Gently stir and allow to simmer for about 3 minutes or until the juices are clear. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Can be made days ahead. 

To make the rhubarb fool:

Make this right as you are going to assemble the dessert. (watch me make and assemble the fool in my instagram video)

Spread the rhubarb on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until the rhubarb is just tender. This will take about 30 minutes if frozen and may take longer if using fresh. Allow to cool to room temperature. Can be made days ahead.

Whip the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla on medium low speed until soft peaks. Remove from mixer and finish to medium peaks by hand so you don’t over mix. Place half the cream in a separate bowl and fold in the rhubarb. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François

To assemble the dessert:

Divide the strawberry sauce between the cheesecakes. Top with the rhubarb fool, doming it in the center over the strawberries. (you could leave it just like this, as you see in the photo above, for a more rustic version) or Top with the remaining plain whipped cream. Smooth the sides. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving, this will allow you to cut them without them falling apart. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François

Just before serving, grind the dried strawberries in a coffee grinder and dust the tops. Place a strawberry on top to serve. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake | ZoëBakes photo by Zoë François

Enjoy! 

Strawberry Rhubarb Fool Cheesecake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
 
Cheesecake adapted from the tourteau fromage recipe in Larousse Gastronomique.
Ingredients
  • Pastry Crust:
  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 125 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4+ tablespoons water
  • Cheesecake batter:
  • 250g fresh goat cheese (or 225g cream cheese + 25g mascarpone)*
  • 150g, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 30g potato starch**
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bean split and scraped
  • Strawberry topping:
  • 680g (1½ pounds) fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 100g, plus 1 tabelspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Rhubarb Fool:
  • 454g (1 pound) fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1" long pieces
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Freeze-dried strawberries for dusting over the top
  • Fresh strawberries for top
Instructions
  1. To make the cheesecake crust: Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and butter, until it resembles coarse corn meal. Add enough water until it just holds together when squeezed together. Work the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 equal pieces (depends on the size of your bowls) and form them into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Can be made 2 days ahead.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly butter three (1/2-Quart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl).
  3. Allow chilled dough to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling or it may crack. Use a small amount of flour to roll the dough to 1/16-inch-thick circle. Gently press into a lightly buttered metal bowl. Dock the dough with a fork and bake until dough looks dry and golden.
  4. To make the cheesecake batter: Turn the oven up to 400°F
  5. In a large bowl mix the cheese, 150g sugar and salt with a spoon or whisk. Add the yolks one at a time, blending well between each. Whip the egg whites with the tablespoon sugar until medium peaks (don't over whip or they will not fold into the cheese smoothly). Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture.
  6. Divide the batter into the baked crust filled bowls. Bake on a baking sheet for about 50-60 minutes. The outer crust will be quite dark and domed, but will collapse as it finishes its baking. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out of the bowl and continue to cool completely.
  7. To make the strawberry sauce: In a large saucepan cook the strawberries, sugar and salt until the fruit is soft. Blend together the remaining sugar and cornstarch, then stir it gently into the strawberries. Gently stir and allow to simmer for about 3 minutes or until the juices are clear. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Can be made days ahead.
  8. To make the rhubarb fool: Make this right as you are going to assemble the dessert.
  9. Spread the rhubarb on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until the rhubarb is just tender. This will take about 30 minutes if frozen and may take longer if using fresh. Allow to cool to room temperature. Can be made days ahead.
  10. Whip the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla on medium low speed until soft peaks. Remove from mixer and finish to medium peaks by hand so you don't over mix. Place half the cream in a separate bowl and fold in the rhubarb.
  11. To assemble the dessert: Divide the strawberry sauce between the cheesecakes. Top with the rhubarb fool, doming it in the center over the strawberries. (you could leave it just like this, as you see in the photo above, for a more rustic version) or Top with the remaining plain whipped cream. Smooth the sides. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving, this will allow you to cut them without them falling apart.
  12. Just before serving, grind the dried strawberries in a coffee grinder and dust the tops. Place a strawberry on top to serve.
Notes
*the goat cheese version is traditional and wonderful, but quite strong in flavor. You could always do a smaller portion of goat cheese and make up the rest with cream cheese. Since I am no longer going for the authentic recipe, you have permission to change the cheese as you see fit.
**you can also use corn or tapioca